Black Hair: Playing the white card? Gimme a break. It’s not that deep.

14 07 2009

The point is not to seperate the Black North-American community in two: Naturals VS Relaxed. And as a natural sister, my point is NOT to consider natural black hair as the only correct way to wear your hair. But there is a couple of arguments from the relaxed side (thought it is not really a side) that I just can’t stand.

b6We are in America.Right. And…?? I mean, seriously. Especially american women. You have been in that country for so long, you have helped builting it. You guys have been there for centuries. Stop acting like you were newly arrived people who have to adapt to ‘mainstream’ society. You ARE part of ‘mainstream society’. I mean, isn’t it what America is all about? Many cultures living together. I don’t know if it because it is always more difficult to see yourself from the inside. As a not-american women, I see America as a country that was moulded both by Europeans and African people. By having your hair relaxed or having a wig on and saying that you do it because ‘we’re in America’ is just ridiculous. The civil war didn’t happen for nothing. It think the African culture is as important in the history of America as the European culture. Why put one culture above the other as if it was something black women have to reach?

It’s about choice (wigs). I completely understand that arguement. I mean who doesn’t like to change style once in a while? But it is a wig. Why do so many wig girls have the same haircut 24/7? I hate the hypocrisy. Why saying it’s about choice when you have only one style? I mean wigs are wigs. It’s just hypocrite to say it’s about choice when you refuse to go out the house without a wig on your head.

It’s more professional/appropriate. I’ll do this short. Why should something natural be inapropriate? All you have to do is to learn how to style your natural hair. And it goes for all types of hair. Just like you don’t wear jeans on a wedding, you don’t just come to, I don’t know, a bussiness meeting with the same hair style that you would wear to go fishing with your dad on sunday afternoon.

It’s more manageable. Myth. Natural black hair is not more difficult to manage or style. You just have to know how to style it and take care of it. There are plenty (especially in America) of good products you can use, tons of ways you can style your hair that is trendy and not too over the top, and oh so many natural hair styles that require little day-to-day care while staying healthy and good-looking.

I find it ironic how there are so much less good products and salons for Black hair in Canada (due to a smaller Black community) but still, it seems like there are more natural people out here than in our US neighbours. I know society isn’t the same, demographics as well, and culture. I know African Americans and Black Canadians do not share the same history. But we’re all North Americans and thus, in a sense, very similar.

BAM_afro5

Let me end this post like this. For you sisters around the world who are not natural, please be true to yourself. If your hair is the way it is because of self-esteem issues (not to say that it is always the case), please just do something about it, work on loving yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean you have to go natural. That just means: be proud of who you are. Not the hair you wear. Instead, use your hair (and everything else about you, from your skin to your clothes) to tell the world that you love yourself.

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Black Hair – My hair journey

10 08 2008

For too many little black girls, it was a childhood ritual, like pouring make-believe tea. I would take a pajama top, drape it over my head, and with its sleeves trailing down my back, pretend that the cotton nightshirt was, instead, a flowing mane of hair, like the Breckgirl’s, or maybe Jaclyn Smith’s on “Charlie’s Angels” — neither of whom looked a thing like me. Now mind you, I was no self-hater. I grew up with (read more)

What’s the big deal with black woman’s hair ? Everything. I put on the pyjama top as a child, pretending to look like Britney spears, Christina Aguilera, Michelle from Destiny’s child or Jennifer Lopez. Like many others. I permed my hair from 11 to 15 years-old. My mama had asked me if I wanted to, I thought: “Thank God, finally !“ To me, long and straight hair was synonym of beauty. The Stars had them and the stars decided everything fashion and beauty. Destiny’s child, Halle Berry, Spice Girls, Britney, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys… I believe that to my mother, permed hair meant a transition between girlhood and womanhood. I was 11 years-old, I wanted to please and attract people and to me, permed hair was the only solution. Long and straight hair was like a permission to flirt because only woman had long and straight hair. At 11 years-old, I felt like a woman already. Now that I think about it, I think that’s really funny and silly. It’s innocent… And destructive.

Perm hair is the demon. No jokes. At least, it was for me. I grew up, went in High school. At an age where teenagers discover themselves, I was wondering why wasn’t it okay to have kinky and curly hair ?…. Why wasn’t okay to just be myself ? Naturally. When I asked my mom about the hair and when I told her that maybe I could perhaps, possibly go back to natural hair, she laughed and said: “Curly hair is for little girls.“ Months have gone by, and basically, my hair could not handle the permed. I wasn’t taking care of them anyway. I didn’t want to. I learned to hate them. They were not me. They were not mine and they did not represent who I was. I felt like society and even the Black community around me was sending me this negative message: “Be someone else. Being yourself is not good enough.“ As you all know, I was dealing with self-esteem problems and my hair did not help me. And plus, I always felt that permed hair was just so ridiculous on me. I am Black, why should I play White ? I did NOT agree. Black hair is as good as white hair.

And so, at 13-14: Total rebellion. Well, almost, lol. I began to wear braids because I had took off the perm and my hair was just so damaged. It was somewhat of a middle ground. My hair was artificially long, but it looked more natural then permed hair. I did not want to play a role anymore. I mean, why should natural hair be inappropriate at a certain age if it’s, well, let me think… NATURAL ! So for two- two and a half years, I went through this dread-transition period. At 15-16, I began to wear my beautiful natural hair. Proudly.

At first, I just attached them in a pony tail. No, going back to natural hair was not easy. People’s gazes and looks (especially from the Black community) kind of bothered me at first. It was as if they were telling me: “WTF ?!?“ I don”t know. They may as well as thought: “Oh, natural sister !“ or just “Nice“, you know ? Still. It was probably just not common to see natural hair especially at my age (as a teen). Gradually, I began to wear twists (like in the picture… No, it’s not me.). Many, many different twists. Gosh, I really had some really bad hair days ! 😉 But it was… necessary, I guess. I had to find the way my hair looked better on me. It’s like a long and difficult communication between me and my hair. I looooove my natural hair. 🙂

I mean, twists are twists are twists. You know ? But twists are just so unique depending on who wears them and who did them and your hair type and length and strength… Next, I would like to try even more different hair styles. Twists-out and fros are cool. 🙂 I may try to use a texturizer as well before doing my twists.

Before I start boring you about my hair (that you had never seen anyway ;)), let me just say that I really honestly wish that beauty would stop be this really plastic skinny girl with long blond hair and all. It’s 2008. Beauty is everywhere, in every face, in every hair, in every skin. L’oréal didn’t get that, obviously. They denied having lighten Beyoncé’s skin. Good joke. L’Oréal is like the most plastic-like and superficial compagny ever. Now, little girls put their pyjama tops on their head trying to look like Beyoncé because they think “Wow, I can lighten and become as beautiful as she is !“ The reality is different, though. Of course, Beyoncé is gorgeous. But she’s fake, like every single other star. She’s hidden under makeup, I’m telling you. Don’t put a pyjama top on your head. It’s silly.

I’m not saying that Permed hair or extension or whatever unatural isn’t beautiful. It is beautiful. What I’m unhappy about is that it just seems that straigh hair is seen as the only beauty. I’m not angry at every black woman with unatural hair. I don’t care what you do about your hair, it’s your choice. Just saying: It’s NOT an OBLIGATION !

You know that girl on Cold Case, Tracie Thoms ? Love love love love her hair! Absolutely beautiful.